The Laser sailboat is no longer in production in North America and Europe and because the Laser trademark is being held by the former builder, the boat’s name had to be changed in order for Bruce Kirby’s design to continue to be sold world-wide as a One Design class.
The newly-christened Kirby Torch has a very Canadian focus. The Laser started in Canada, quickly becoming an IYRU-recognized international class in 1974. Then in 1983, the original builder went bankrupt and rights to the design reverted to Bruce Kirby Inc.
After decades as probably the most active sailing class, a similar problem has arisen. The issue is supply of the Kirby sailboat and parts to sailors worldwide. Numerous bloggers and sailing writers have complained of supply and quality issues with products from the North American and European builders and royalty payments owed to Kirby had ceased. After numerous attempts, Bruce Kirby felt he had no choice but to withdraw Laser brand building rights in North America and Europe.
Enter a group of keen Canadian competitive sailors, determined to revitalize the class association and to bring Kirby’s design back into production in Canada. It is hoped that production will reach 1,000 to 1,500 boats a year serving sailors in North America, great news for Canadians and the Canadian boating industry.
Kirby is particularly excited about the North American plan. He stated that “The Canadian group involves the Fogh family – Hans and Thomas – and John Kerr. The Foghs have been handling Laser boats and parts for years. They are very familiar with the dealer network in North America, and should easily be able to hit the ground running.”
Hans Fogh and John Kerr are Olympic Medalists in sailing and remain active sailors and competitors. They bring a depth of knowledge and experience to the Kirby Torch project that will ensure reliability of supply, quality aspects and control over the boats.
To learn more visit: www.kirbytorch.com
For more information, contact:
Torch Performance Sailcraft North America, Inc.
540 Elizabeth Street
Midland, Ontario L4R2A3